The fan who caught David Freese's 11th-inning home run in Thursday night's classic World Series Game 6 returned the ball to the Cardinals player after making a quick deal for a signed bat and ball and a chance to meet the players.

Dave Huyette, a 39-year-old radiologist from Maryville, Ill., leaped a fence and snared the ball from the center field grass. He tucked it in his pants and escaped other fans looking for it. Then he was escorted to the Cardinals clubhouse, where he met Freese and struck his deal.

Well, now that I’ve caught my breath after a whirlwind return from the bye week in Ohio, here’s what’s been on my mind.

Somewhere Dan Duquette is smiling a very wide smile.



There were substantially fewer people at Saturday's UMass-UNH football game at Gillette Stadium than a typical Patriots game, but the event required more of an effort from police. According to the Attleboro Sun Chronicle, Saturday's "Colonial Clash," which drew a crowd of 19,800, ended with 64 people being placed into custody, compared with 48 at the previous Sunday's Pats game. Most of the fans were placed into protective custody for intoxication. There were 16 criminal arrests, including 10 for minors in possession of alcohol.

NBA legend Julius Erving, who is being sued for failing to repay more than $200,000 to a Georgia bank, is auctioning off some of his personal memorabilia, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Items on the block Friday include his 1983 Sixers championship ring and his ABA rings from 1974 and '76 with the New York Nets, along with MVP trophies from both leagues. The minimum bid on his NBA ring is $25,000.

During Monday's legal maneuverings in a Delaware courtroom, Major League Baseball accused Dodgers owner Frank McCourt of "looting" $189 million from the team, and the name of Bryan Stow -- the fan who was beaten outside Dodger Stadium on Opening Day -- was introduced by both sides. Commissioner Bud Selig's lawyers said the Stow incident showed that McCourt provided inadequate security, while McCourt's team said mentioning Stow shows how low MLB will go in order to force out the owner.

The New England Revolution announced that coach Steve Nicol's 10-year tenure has come to an end. Nicol's run with the Revs was the longest ever by a Major League Soccer coach.

He guided the Revs to a 112-108-81 mark, and took the club to the Eastern conference finals from six straight seasons between 2002-07, advancing to the MLS Cup four times. But the Revs never won the title and missed the playoffs the last two years, including this season, when New England went 5-13-16 and finished last in the MLS in wins (15) and tied for last in the MLS with 28 points.

The Lions dropped their second straight game Sunday, and for the second week in a row they are caught up in a controversy for their behavior on the field. The Falcons accused Lions defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avril of taunting Matt Ryan while the Falcons quarterback was down on the turf with an injury.

CINCINNATI -- Coming to you from my fair hometown, where I have some family time during the Patriots' bye week.

Cincinnati, the home of Pete Rose, conservative politics, Procter & Gamble, baseball’s first professional franchise and Bengals owner Mike Brown



Despite the furor in Boston over Red Sox players drinking beer in the clubhouse and dugout, reports are coming out showing that the behavior is not uncommon around the majors. The New York Daily News quotes sources as saying the Yankees and Mets have a history of drinking in both locations. For example, according to the report, Roger Clemens and Jason Giambi "routinely" drank beer on the dugout bench when they played for the Yankees. And they were not alone.

Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, who Boston fans remember for his inconsistency and insult of Tim Thomas in the Stanley Cup finals -- is off to a slow start this season, and Vancouver fans are letting him know they don't like it. During Tuesday's 4-0 loss to the Rangers, Luongo was booed by his own fans.

Said Luongo Wednesday: "The good thing is it has happened so many times, I've gotten used to it."